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U.S. ahead of Russia in global arms industry, – SIPRI

U.S. companies increase their share of total Top 100 arms sales, while Russia becomes the second largest arms produce. The UK remains the largest arms producer in Western Europe
16:47, 10 December 2018

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The sales of arms and military services by the world’s largest arms-producing and military services companies—the SIPRI Top 100—totalled $398.2 billion in 2017, according to new intrenational arms industry report released today by SIPRI, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. 

The total for the SIPRI Top 100 in 2017 is 2.5% higher than that in 2016 and represents an increase of 44% since 2002 (the first year for which comparable data is available; the figures exclude China). This is the third consecutive year of growth in Top 100 arms sales.

US companies hold more than half of the world market share for the military equipment, according to a recent study by SIPRI.

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The US company Lockheed Martin remains the undisputed leader among the world's 100 largest defense companies — no other company in the industry made a larger profit in 2017. With sales amounting to $44 billion (€27.8 billion), Lockheed Martin leads the SIPRI ranking by a wide margin. Germany's largest defense group, Düsseldorf-based Rheinmetall AG, doesn't even account for a 10th of this sum. With sales of $3.4 billion, Rheinmetall ranks 25th, SIPRI Top 100 states.

With 42 companies listed in 2017, companies based in the United States continued to dominate the Top 100 in 2017. Taken together, the arms sales of US companies grew by 2% in 2017, to $226.6billion, which accounted for 57% total Top 100 arms sales.

Five US companies were listed in the top 10 in 2017. ‘US companies directly benefit from the US Department of Defense’s ongoing demand for weapons,’ says Aude Fleurant, Director of SIPRI’s Arms and Military Expenditure Programme.

Lockheed Martin remained the world’s largest arms producer in 2017, with arms sales of $44.9 billion. 

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The combined arms sales of Russian companies accounted for 9.5 percent of the Top 100 total, making Russia the second largest arms producer in the Top 100 in 2017—a position that had been occupied by the United Kingdom since 2002. Taken together, the arms sales of the 10 Russian companies listed in the Top 100 increased by 8.5 percent in 2017, to $37.7 billion. ‘Russian companies have experienced significant growth in their arms sales since 2011,’ says Siemon Wezeman, Senior Researcher with SIPRI’s Arms and Military Expenditure Programme. ‘This is in line with Russia’s increased spending on arms procurement to modernize its armed forces.’

In 2017 a Russian company appeared in the top 10 for the first time since SIPRI started publishing its annual Top 100 list. ‘Almaz-Antey, which was already Russia’s largest arms-producing company, increased its arms sales by 17% 2017, to $8.6 billion,’ says Alexandra Kuimova, Research Assistant with SIPRI’s Arms and Military Expenditure Programme.

Along with Almaz-Antey, three other Russian companies in the Top 100 increased their arms sales by more than 15%: United Engine Corporation (25%), High Precision Systems (22%) and Tactical Missiles Corporation (19%).

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The combined arms sales of the 24 companies in Western Europe listed in the Top 100 increased by 3.8% in 2017, to $94.9 billion, which accounted for 23.8% of the Top 100 total. The UK remained the largest arms producer in the region in 2017, with total arms sales of $35.7 billion and seven companies listed in the Top 100. ‘The combined arms sales of British companies were 2.3% higher than in 2016,’ says Fleurant. ‘This was largely due to increases in the arms sales of BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and GKN.’

BAE Systems, which is ranked fourth in the Top 100, is the UK’s biggest arms producer. Its arms sales rose by 3.3% in 2017, to $22.9 billion.

Four German companies are among the world's 100 largest arms manufacturers: Rheinmetall, Thyssenkrupp and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, which manufacture submarines, ships, tanks and armored vehicles for the German armed forces. They also sell them abroad. All three companies increased their profits in 2017.

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